Night Training

By Colleen Brunetti, M.Ed., C.H.C

I get a variety of questions on our Facebook page, but they often follow a few specific themes. One of these themes is that of night training – when to start it, how long it takes, and what to expect.

First of all, know that it is perfectly normal for night training to take longer than day training. Yes, there are children who will do both around the same time, or one right after the other, but there are also many who may need longer to develop the bladder control while they sleep.

This is especially true for heavy sleepers, who may be in such deep slumber they don’t feel their body’s signals and thus wake up wet.

Also be aware that some night wetting is considered common right up until about age 6. No, this doesn’t mean you’re stuck with a couple of more years of bed-wetting, but if by chance this does occur, it is still considered biologically normal. Of course, if there is ever any concern, please check with your pediatrician.

There are a few things you can do to try to ease the transition:

  • Make sure your child is going potty just before going to sleep.
  • You may also want to limit liquids in the hour or so leading up to bedtime.
  • Some parents elect to wake a child late at night for a quick trip to the potty. This works well for some, and in others can actually just encourage energetic night waking, which nobody wants. The trick is just to know your kid on that one!
  • You can also try a rewards system for dry mornings – but do not scold or punish for accidents.
  • Keep extra sheets and clean pajamas handy so they are easy to access in the middle of the night or early morning.
  • Finally, know that in time this too shall pass.

    For more information on night training visit our TIPS page!

Potty Training Tips from the Academy

By Colleen Brunetti, M.Ed., C.H.C.

happy childhoodThe instructors at the Signing Time Academy come from many walks of life, love to sign, love kids, and just happen to have some pretty great advice on potty training. I’ve compiled some of their best tips for you here. (Tip: Click on each instructor’s name to find out if they have classes near you, or use the search feature to find a local instructor!)

I think that with potty training there are “windows of opportunity” and if you aren’t in one training will be overly difficult. I used a method of training where we went full force. I don’t really go for pull ups at daytime (i think they are expensive diapers). The child makes a decision to use the potty and off we go. I don’t force them to sit on the potty (unless we are leaving the house) but will ask if they are listening to their body. My daughter was trained at 19 months old,  my son was much later at 34 months. Each child had different needs and I needed to be aware of that.

There is not point in pushing if they aren’t ready. Wait until they are interested and motovated. Try to stay away from external rewards (like candy for every poo). A sticker for random dry checks works so much better- it rewards the behavior you want, dry underwear not the poo. (Kelly Hosna)

I spent a fortune with the rewards I used with my son. I would never do that again. It worked, but it came with a big price tag. So that is one piece of advice, do not select a pricey reward. Kids love stickers and they are cheap. I would use them instead of an actual item. (Monica Blouin)

Let your child take the lead, and watch for signs that they are ready! Also watch to see what motivates your child! We used the Potty Time chart and I made magnetic stickers that my son stuck on each time he went, and at the end of each row he chose if we went swimming, to the zoo, park (places that were free for us to go)! Along with the Potty Chart we used the Potty Time DVD on a daily basis. I recommend skipping the pull-ups and going straight to the thicker underwear. My son didn’t like the feeling of being wet, so it was another motivation to stay dry and use the potty!

iStock_000003479094SmallWe’ve had regressions at major life events such as a new sibling or death in the family, or even just a switch in daily schedule. One thing that has helped in the regression stage is to ask our son why he had an accident? And then work with him to solve the why! Sometimes it was an attempt to get more attention, so we made sure we set aside more time with just him. (Amanda Perry)

Make the biggest fuss about the sound of PEE PEE hitting the water or pot and clap like it is a party, but continue to sit on your own potty both of you, especially if the baby does not particularly want to be on the potty anyway. I found practicing the ABCs in sign language was a distraction until the water hit the pot, and then the verbal YEAs were all over the place, along with lots of clapping. (Vanessa McCorker)

Be careful around holidays (or a big event like) moving. These are high stress life moments and its a time of different schedules…new faces…different foods. It can upset anyone’s schedule…especially little ones!! (Amy Smith Joines)

We’re using the Potty Time app–the virtual stickers are enough of a reward for my daughter. We’ve cleared out the week with lots of diaper-free time so we can both learn her cues. (Melissa Droegemueller)

There is no one right way to potty train. You need to do what is right for you and your family. Regression is part of the learning process. Unless there are medical/developmental issues, it will happen. (Annie Young)

So there you have it! Some of our instructors’ best tips. What are YOUR best tips for potty training? Sound off on our Facebook page!

Potty Training Boot Camp Goes Big

By Colleen Brunetti, M.Ed., C.H.C

The Little Lighthouse Daycare in Ellicott City, Maryland, is trying something new. One might even call it innovative… and if you’re struggling to potty train just one kid, you might even call it crazy! Nonetheless, the teachers at this daycare are going the distance – and putting groups of kids through potty training boot camp all at once. And they are having success!

Farida, the assistant director, took some time to explain their unique approach to me. They start with the age of the child, focusing on the two-year-olds who are getting ready to move to the three-year-old room. Since the daycare happens to have a transitional room for kids between two and three, this is ideal.

While it is a boot camp approach, they don’t just jump right in. There is a very carefully thought out process that the teachers guide the children through, and the end result is quite promising.

The process is the brainchild of Farida, who was looking for a streamlined, effective, and developmentally appropriate way to support the kids in the care of the center as they went through the potty training process… but not to have it drag on for seemingly forever, which for some children it appeared to be doing.

After careful thought and research, Farida wanted to try something a little radical. It seemed by her observation and research that before age three was a good age to train, and the common denominator amongst all children is that they were showing interest when it was time.

First, a letter goes home to parents a few weeks in advance and parents get to discuss the process ahead of time. The letter details an overview of the daycare potty training program and gives the start date. Potty training can understandably be a rather sensitive subject, so clear communication on the part of the daycare is key. Sometimes there is a little resistance on the part of the parents. It is a matter of trusting the caregiver you’ve entrusted your child to, or following through at home (perhaps with a potty training boot camp weekend prior to the daycare launch). Although each family has their preferred method and time to start, for this to work everyone needs to be on board together.

Next, the work with the kids at daycare begins. There is a designated circle time where the kids who will participate begin to prepare. Each day has a theme and a children’s book to go along with it. Topics like introducing the potty, the digestive system, and “diapers are not forever” get careful coverage.

photo-1A big countdown chart goes up on the wall as kids get ready. There is even a doll named “Potty Polly” (complete with a toilet, underwear, and a toy cup!) that the kids get to play with. This imaginative play, where they are guided to explain to Potty Polly why she must use the potty, is key to ensuring the kids understand what they are being asked to do.

The kids are now informed, and they’re psyched to start because the process is kept fun and inviting. A timer is used to cue them for when it is time to try to go potty, starting at every 10-15 minutes during the day. There is also a big potty party, complete with juice and treats, and then everyone goes and gets on their underwear. And then – as the first day has officially begun – everyone tends to immediately pee their pants.

This is normal, expected, and prepared for, as parents have already sent in stacks of dry clothes.  There may be a lot of back-up outfits to go through the first few days, but nobody worries, as this is all a part of the process while accidents become less and less as time goes on.

Farida stresses that time, patience, consistency, and a positive attitude are all key elements. Even if the children don’t look like they are getting it at first, they are. And in a very short time, the efforts pay off – just check out this sticker chart full of success!photo 2

Have you tried boot camp or a potty party to launch potty training? How does your childcare provider handle potty training? Let us know on Facebook or here in the comments section.